Philly Inc: New owner reports Tasty Baking 'exceeding expectations'

Posted: March 21, 2012

Less than a year after buying Tasty Baking Co., the top management of Flowers Foods Inc. came to South Philadelphia on Tuesday to hold its analyst day.

Flowers Foods chief executive George E. Deese sounded thrilled on a webcast of the presentations to be stomping around the bakery that Charlie Pizzi Built.

With as much hand-wringing that was going on in early 2011 over the financial strains that ultimately cost Tasty Baking its independence, it was good to hear Deese describe the snack-food baker's performance as "exceeding expectations."

"Tastykake brought an iconic brand, two state-of-the art bakeries in Pennsylvania, and access to the market in the mid-Atlantic and, of course, to the Northeast," Deese said.

The Thomasville, Ga.-based Flowers Foods acquired Tasty Baking for $172.1 million in May. The purveyor of Krimpets and Kandy Kakes contributed $127.2 million in sales, or 4.6 percent of Flowers Foods' $2.8 billion in 2011 sales.

"We were happy as can be to have an iconic brand in the portfolio of stable brands within the company. That was real evidence to our shareholders and people who followed us that we were very serious about our five-year plan," he said.

That plan calls for even more acquisitions and sales growth, but Deese wasn't ready to unveil anything Tuesday. He said Flowers Foods had thought that it might be able to pick up some operations divested by Grupo Bimbo S.A.B. de C.V. after it acquired Sara Lee Corp.'s North American bakery business in November. "That has not happened," he said.

Deese hinted that Flowers Foods "will have an announcement sometime in the near future" and that it would likely involve building a "new facility or using one of our present facilities to expand."

Professor Ben

If you missed Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke moonlighting as a guest lecturer for a George Washington University class Tuesday, you'll get another chance. He'll be talking about the Fed's performance during the 2008-09 financial crisis on Thursday at 12:45 p.m.

The Fed live-streamed Tuesday's lecture, including the questions asked by G.W. students on topics, such as the possibility of returning to the gold standard and the need for greater cooperation among central banks.

Can't watch live? The lectures are being archived at http://www.ustream.tv/federalreserve.

Contact Mike Armstrong at 215-854-2980 or marmstrong@phillynews.com, or follow on Twitter @PhillyInc. Read his blog, "PhillyInc," at www.phillyinc.biz.

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